Partnachklamm (Partnach Gorge) is located in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, Germany. It is simply breathtaking in winter! Snow covered trees, huge dripping icicles and frozen waterfalls make it a winter wonderland. It’s also one of the few gorges that is open in winter.
The Partnachklamm follows the historic route used by lumberjacks and leads through tunnels and overhanging cliffs. It is only 700m long, but is 80m deep and there are lots of possibilities to extend it into a more moderate or strenuous hike. The nearby Höllentalklam, (Hell Valley Gorge) is longer and also offers longer hiking possibilities but is only open Spring – Fall. I would recommend doing the Höllentalklamm sometime between Spring and Fall since it was simply amazing in winter, for two different, but equally inspiring hikes.
The other advantage of going to the Partnachklamm in winter is that we saw only a few other hikers on the trail, giving us the illusion that we had the entire gorge to ourselves. Torchlight tours of the gorge are also available, although we did a self-guided tour. Next time I want to do the torchlight tour, which would really highlight the tunnels and the icicles.
The Partnachklamm was simply stunning covered in icicles, although our German friends were disappointed that the icicles weren’t bigger and recommended that we come back when it was colder and the icicles would be triple the size. I can’t believe I’m actually hoping for colder weather so that I can go back.
Our German friends wisely recommended that we extend our hike by 20 minutes to the Forthaus Graseck Hotel, where we warmed up and grabbed a bite to eat. Instead of going down the same way, we went down in the self-operated Graseckseilbahn, a self-operated funicular that’s waiting for you steps from the hotel. Having no prior funicular operating experience, I was a bit nervous, but relieved to learn that it self-started upon closing the door. Even I could manage that with my limited machine operating experience! It’s very old and a bit daunting, especially if you are scared of heights as one of our friends was, but I was not about to turn down the opportunity to add “funicular operator” to my resume. Plus the views on the way down were worth it. There’s no such thing as a free ride though – at the bottom the operator collects your €3.50 per person fee.
I’m going back to the Parnachklamm during the next cold spell to see the gigantic icicles torch in hand. Don’t worry you can go back down with me in the Graseckseilbahn with me – I’m an experienced operator!